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    #1

    PUNCTUATION

    Hi,
    My first posting so here goes, hope someone has time to enlighten my poor unpunctuated brain. Which of the following is correct? X-ray showed a nondisplaced fracture; minimal degenerative joint disease and arthritic changes; right upper extremity. - OR - X-ray showed a nondisplaced fracture; minimal degenerative joint disease and arthritic changes; right upper extremity. X-ray showed a nondisplaced fracture, minimal degenerative joint disease and arthritic changes. Right upper extremity.
    I am confused as to whether I can use the semicolons in the 1st option or whether I should separate sentences.
    Cheers
    PhilR

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2
    Neither is gramatically correct of course, but I think the right answer is whatever prevails in Australian radiological jargon, which obviously I know nothing about. This was written for readers who know the jargon.

    But if you are concerned about the general reader I think the full stop (period in AmE) is better than the semicolon. The semicolon seems to make all three statements equivalently valuable. But the first two describe the nature and extent of the malady, valuable information, while the third merely specifies its location, which is relatively trivial.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: PUNCTUATION

    Are the degenerative joint disease and arthritic changes affecting the right upper extremity? If so, you should specify the joint or joints that are involved. That is important. Semicolons are not usually used to separate items in a list unless the items in the list contain commas.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: PUNCTUATION

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    But the first two describe the nature and extent of the malady, valuable information, while the third merely specifies its location, which is relatively trivial.
    Really? So it's more important to know that there's a bit of degenerative change somewhere than it is to know that the fracture is in the arm rather than the leg?

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